Estimates predict that by 2030, Asia’s eLearning market will reach about USD 162 million. Education technology (edtech) has proliferated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since the COVID-19 pandemic began. At the time, students and teachers had to adapt to a novel way of learning. Many new edtech startups emerged, turning what was once merely an alternative and experimental learning method into the new normal.
The level of growth in edtech Southeast Asia is experiencing is making a difference to learners of all ages. Students in school are uncovering interesting methods of gaining knowledge using tools such as gamification, which keeps students engaged while passing detailed information into their minds. Outside of schools, many companies are integrating learning technology into the workplace to train and upskill employees.
EduSpaze startups discuss the edtech in Southeast Asia in 2023
Several factors are also contributing to the growth of edtech in the region, including increased smartphone use, app development, internet penetration, and the presence of a younger and tech-savvy generation. Here are some of the edtech companies making a difference in Southeast Asia:
Online learning platform Fammi is an Indonesia-based company enabling people to learn about family living. For example, students can take pre-marriage, parenting, breastfeeding courses, and more. Training is delivered through audiobooks and videos on laptops, smartphones, and other devices.
Fammi has thus far raised an undisclosed amount from Indigo by Telkom Indonesia in a Pre-seed funding round. It uses the CARE approach—Consult, Assess, Relearn, and Empower—to educate families and provide resources to support them.
Meetup and sharing platform Kalpha is a Singapore-based company with a unique take on learning. It involves bringing people together—casually or professionally—to share their experiences, knowledge, and skills to improve a learner’s quality of life. The sharer or expert will list their skills, Kalpha facilitates the meeting sessions, and the learner can schedule the meetup.
Kalpha’s most recent funding was in a Series A round by EduSpaze and seed-stage investor Nest Tech, but the amount was undisclosed. Singapore’s investment arm, Enterprise Singapore, funded EduSpaze as an edtech accelerator for innovation, scaling, leadership, experience, skill, guidance, and providing feedback to startups.
Philippines-based lending firm InvestEd gives students educational loans to enable them to finish their studies. Its financing options help under-resourced Filipino youths to pay for tuition, rent, food, gadgets, and other necessities. The monthly interest rate is lower than other lenders and ranges between 2.42% and 2.67%.
InvestEd Philippines participated in a Venture Series Unknown round and raised an undisclosed amount funded by Goodwater Capital. The startup provides easily accessible funding, a straightforward application process, and a customisable payment plan. It also offers a digital coaching program for borrowers to succeed in their careers, allowing them to repay their educational loans quickly.
Singapore-based Kidspreneurship seeks to train children aged eight and above to develop their entrepreneurial side. It uses experiential learning focusing on the 3Ps—Play-based, Participative-based, and Probe-based. The company believes the entrepreneurial spirit should be cultivated in kids at an early stage because it is an essential life skill that brings confidence, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.
Using components like role-playing, illustrations, workshops, peer projects, apprenticeship, starting a business, and more to help students learn helped the startup to win a 2022 APAC Insider Singapore Business Award.
DNA-based evaluation company Garden Genesis operates in Singapore and uses non-invasive DNA testing to determine a child’s uniqueness. This information enables the company to enhance the child’s learning experience and to ensure holistic growth. It collects the DNA using a buccal swab, and its Illumina technology provides 99.9% data accuracy.
Garden Genesis offers free early learning resources and workshops, complimentary video, and phone consultation, and DNA testing in an accredited lab. The company will deliver the child’s report within four weeks.
Edtech Southeast Asia has a bright future
The growth rate in edtech Southeast Asia is experiencing can be further enhanced by solving some of the obstacles in the edtech ecosystem. Examples of challenges include poor infrastructure, edtech costs, lack of adequate investment, tech teacher shortages, regional barriers, slow adoption of new technologies, and more. Students in rural areas may also feel aggrieved as some technology does not reach their location.
Nevertheless, edtech offers many benefits to ASEAN because it is a convenient way of learning, is much more affordable for students than traditional methods, and boosts learning outcomes. Students worldwide can engage with each other online and learn new ideas. Additionally, edtech startups can provide tools for companies to upskill their workers through online learning.
Furthermore, solutions like artificial intelligence are helping to streamline learning and identify areas where students need to improve. The global use of artificial intelligence in the education market will likely generate revenue of USD 25.7 billion by 2030.
Ultimately, edtech has much potential for growth with the metaverse, virtual and augmented reality, shared learning on social media, and other novel technologies.